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07 December 2014


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Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

Never thought to hear again the phrase "various cats and dogs" again; my grandmother's favorite way of describing people of no account - fools & knaves and all in between.


Haaretz today mentions a new UNDOF (Observer at the Golan Heights) report that talks about Israeli exchanges with the "insurgents". Haaretz also reports of Syrian accusations of collaboration.


Haaretz does not mention that the UNDOF report largely supports the Syrian claims.



It has been clear for a while that the U.S. cooperating with Nusra at least in the south of Syria. Nusra gets weapons and other stuff through "moderate rebels" who get them from the control room in Amman. The operators in the control room clearly must have noted that.

When the U.S. bombed hardcore Nusra in the north it said that was the "Khorosan group". No expert had ever heard of such a group. The renaming was likely done to keep other Nusra folks in line with U.S. plans.

Even before that about a year ago there was a media campaign distinguishing between the "good" Jihadis, aka Nusra, and the "bad" Jihadis aka ISIS. The NYT and the WaPo where in line and made such distinction on the very same day. Who fed them?



When I read this I begin to think that the Obamaites are determined to kill Assad in time before the next presidential election, and "because they wills it".

What happens after that, they will know when they're there.

To believe that Nusra has started to respect or tolerate 'heathen minorities' like value Druze or Alawis only because of US and Israeli support ... they will only butcher them later, or somewhat more discreetly. A leopard can't change its spots.

And so can't the US. Because the US said Adssad must go, he must go, the consequences be damned and harebrained idea or not. Take on ISIS and Assad at the same time? Hey, the US can't just lose face like that, can she?

Regime change forever! Vorwärts immer, rückwärts nimmer!

David Habakkuk


‘The nadir of rational discussion was reached by Richard Haas who says he thinks that an international military task force should be formed to impose a new government on Syria by force.’

It reminds me of the moment when I rediscovered my ‘inner imperialist’.

This was at the start of 1989, when I was working for the BBC. My presenter and I flew from Moscow to Washington, and explained to a pompous ass called Tom Simons in the State Department that someone who was roughly his opposite number in the Soviet Foreign Ministry had told us that the Brezhnev Doctrine was dead. If Eastern European countries chose to leave the Warsaw Pact, force would not be used to stop them.

With an air of condescension, he told us that what middle-ranking officials told insignificant journalists like us didn’t matter, and that when the ‘movers and shakers’ came into the room, things would be likely to be different.

I suppressed what I thought, which was, in brief, you bloody dolt, you don’t know anything about how empires work. Where as is common a key element in the stability of imperial systems has to do with people’s calculations about what would happen if, in the end, force was brutally applied, nobody but a cretin gives a guarantee that it will not be applied, unless they mean it.

It was precisely because the middle-ranking officials had been instructed to tell insignificant journalists who asked – and their very few of us who bothered to do us, I can tell you – that it was clear that the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe was at an end.

You simply do not say: the police have been instructed to leave their lathis at home, under no circumstances will the artillery come out of the garrison, unless 1. you have gone feeble minded, or 2. you have decided you are not going to attempt to sustain the system by force.

What I did not realise then was how deep the inability of the American ‘intelligentsia’ to understand what you can and cannot do with force goes. Whatever their faults, the last thing that old-fashioned British imperialists believed – certainly after 1857 – was that one could remodel cultures by violence.

Implicitly, Haas is either saying 1. that a new American-imposed government would not require legitimacy, but could rest simply on force, or 2. that – for reasons he has not explained – it could acquire legitimacy.

My own strong hunch is that this is simply another example of the intellectual collapse common among American Zionists, confronted by their inability to grasp that access to the levers of American power does not provide a basis for remodelling the Middle East to make it hospitable to Israel. So near, but yet so far, one might say.

However, these days the British have become Americanised. The desire to boss and rule over the world has not left us, while the realisation that empirical knowledge mattered one found among many old-style British imperialists has vanished. So too has old-fashioned 'horse sense' about how people behave, in the real world -- in London as much as in Syria or indeed Eastern Europe.

Probably David Cameron would heartily agree with Richard Haas!

Charles I

Thanks for the link to the full reports and maps, I posted about this a few weeks ago in a thread I can't recall but only had the summary.

Charles I

Well, we imagine staying in Kabul = mission accomplished, to admit otherwise would make our pols heads explode.


David, speaking of British Imperialism and it's place in context of Pax Americana...

Britain returns to the east of Suez http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/12/07/britain-returns-to-the-east-of-suez/

And here is another interesting post by M K Bhadrakumar. Combining this news about the latest US Turkish agreements with this post's info on Israeli actions in Syria, it looks like Syria is about to get squeezed.

Obama’s Faustian deal with Turkey’s Erdogan http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/12/06/obamas-faustian-deal-with-turkeys-erdogan/

Ishmael Zechariah


Some folks in Turkey think that the imperial overlords of Terra designed this gambit to open a Mediterranean corridor for the Kurds. It will be interesting to see the response from Putin and Nasrallah. Events might take a rather serious turn.

Ishmael Zechariah


"Probably David Cameron would heartily agree with Richard Haas!"

Probably. Transatlantic consensus building is actually deliberate intellectual inbreeding (and the culling of dissent), with analogous debilitating effects.

Charles I

Completely o/t, but worth a look.




My best to the Turkish Republic. pl


With Assad out of the way, Syrians would probably (mostly) unite to oppose the occupiers. Haas must not remember how well this went in Iraq and Afghanistan...

The American and British 'intelligentsia' probably have deluded themselves into believing that recent experience has taught them how to conduct occupations. What idiots!


Cheers to that.


This is the great irony about all the screaming in the West about V.V. Putin and his "plan" to reconstitute the Russian empire, twisted out of a single -- and actually rather accurate -- observation the Russian president made regarding the collapse of the USSR. I think that it is rather the Western powers that have long pined for the old pre-1945 imperial era and its colonial overlordship and have worked tirelessly to restore it. That the United States appears as the motor force in this -- despite its anti-colonial roots -- is really striking.

FB Ali

The same phrase is used in the same sense in Urdu. Probably derived from Farsi.



That is a very interesting link about the British going East of Suez. Just what fleet units does the Royal Navy have to deploy? Just what does Britain hope to gain?


It will be interesting to see what the neocon zionists will come up with next after Libya, Iraq & Syria become failed states with warlords and continuous conflict. Assad's government is being squeezed by the Caliph and the neocon zionists. If and when it falls Syria will make Libya look like a walk in the park.

The hell unleashed for ordinary people is never part of the chessboard calculation of those that believe they are grand masters of strategy. Blowbacks are always a bitch!


We have reached the Peter Principle level of incompetence in many aspects of our national policy making. Its only downhill from here. It will be a sight when the bubble of our mass delusion bursts.

robt willmann

A video of the group talking about Syria on the CNN television show of Fareed Zakaria today does not yet appear to be on its Internet website. There is only Richard Haas saying that Vladimir Putin is doing a restoration project for a greater Russia. However, CNN does have Zakaria's opening monologue available, which is surprising, because he makes the uncomfortable comparison that the U.S. "defense" budget is larger than the next eight countries of the world combined, which eight include Russia, China, and India, and, furthermore, that the $150 billion dollar cost overrun in the F-35 airplane project is greater than the defense budgets of Britain and France added together! Fareed better watch his back. Col. Lang also commented within the last few months about some statement Zakaria made on his program about a failed U.S. policy (Iraq, maybe?) and that some folks in D.C. and in the media sure would not be happy about it.


There is, however, a video of a congressional hearing from Tuesday, 2 December 2014 on the C-Span website, the subject of which was Combating ISIS. This involved a lot of talk about Syria. The testifiers were Robert Bradtke, a "Senior Adviser" at the State Department, and Tom Warrick, a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism at the Department of Homeland Stasi Security.


Later on in the hearing, there is some decent questioning going on. At 1 hour, 49 minutes, and 50 seconds, Alan Grayson (Dem. Florida) starts. At 1:55:00 is Scott Perry (Repub. Penn.), and he really goes after Bradtke about what actually is the U.S. policy about Syria. At 2:06:15 is Doug Collins of Georgia. He finally gets Bradtke to make a vague statement that the policy is to have a political settlement in Syria that will allow the Syrian people to have a democratic future, a future without Assad.

But, of course, Mr. Bradtke does not describe what the "future without Assad" will look like or be. This "policy" has already resulted in the physical destruction of much of Syria, the tearing apart of its social fabric, and the destruction of its economy. That sure sounds a lot like what happened to a country next to Syria across the border starting in 1990 and continuing on past 2011 into today.

Since actions speak louder than words, it can plausibly be said that the real policy was and is the physical and economic destruction of, and the ripping apart of the social fabric of, both Iraq and Syria, as long as there is the opportunity to make some money doing it and afterwards.

Babak Makkinejad

The Arabs mistrust other Arabs and Iranians. Enter the English who would be providing them a semblance of protection for a price. Arabs of the Persian Gulf are paying money to US, UK, and France to stay in the Persian Gulf.

The 3 Amigos are delighted to obliged them - specially France and UK that no longer have the wherewithal of maintaining a far presence from their own shores on their own state income.

Business as usual.

Babak Makkinejad

I would estimate that you would need in excess of 700,000 troops and say 5000 tanks to occupy Syria for 25 years.

Not going to happen.

Babak Makkinejad

As I stated before, there is no possibility of a Kurdish state; there was not one 2500 years ago, there was not one when Salah Al Din was around, and there is none at the present moment either.

Lord Curzon


I wouldn't go that far with respect to David Cameron. With chaps like Rory Stewart on hand, I believe he gets the unvarnished truth, free from Washington groupthink.



As usual you’re a dash of reality in fantasy land.

Today’s Sunday reading included mention of the 50th anniversary of the award of the first Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War and a WP editorial to establish a safe zone in Syria:


We are witnessing an ethnic (religious) war that will never end till one side is cleansed. Who is going to do the dying in the safe zone? Only the true believers are still alive and fighting against the Syrian nation state. To defend this free haven on Syria’s border; Turkish, American or Israelis troops would be needed; to keep out the Kurds or Shiites. This would really stir the pot in la-la land. Sometime, sooner or later, the American people will have its fill of propaganda and wastefulness and throw the bums out. The American empire will collapse, just like USSR; brought down by hubris and stupidity.

Piotr, Poland

@Col Lang

Polish media say it was probably Israeli air strike on weaponry transport for Hizbollah.
Both Syrian press agency SANA and Al Manar TV-station (controlled by Hizbollah) said it was attack on Dimas airport and Syrian Human Rights Watch say Israelis targeted "an military object".

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